Emirates Wants An A380 Replacement.


Emirates says it’s done the math and what the airline world needs is a replacement for the A380. CEO Tim Clark says passenger growth and runway capacity are not adding up and the only solution is an update of the super jumbo. “The notion that the A380 was a spent force was always a little bit of a difficult one for us to swallow,” Clark said. ”I was chuckling to myself, thinking ‘Wait and see.’ We started flying the A380 into Heathrow six times a day in October of last year, and we haven’t had a [free] seat on any of them since.”

Several airlines have mothballed their A380s and a few have been scrapped. The last one rolled off the assembly line last year. Many airlines have instead migrated to twin-engine widebody Boeings and Airbuses that seat up to 400 passengers, about 150 shy of the average A380 capacity. In an all-economy configuration the A380 can pack in more than 800 passengers. Emirates has the biggest fleet of A380s and plans to have all 118 in revenue service by early next year. Ironically, it’s reduced the passenger load on most of them from 519 to 484 to add a premium economy section. But it plans to start retiring them in the 2030s and it’s told Airbus it wants a replacement.

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  1. What do they want it replaced with? Airbus lost money making the A380. Emirates might be able to convince them to restart production, but no one is going to make a clean sheet design of an aircraft that large again.

  2. What do the passengers want?
    People I talk to only want want better(wider) seats and reliable service.
    Treating people like a veal on ever larger planes is not what the paying passenger “wants” as far as I can tell.

    • What passengers seem to want is a cheap seat. Adjusted for inflation, the cost of business / first is about the same as coach was in the more luxurious, regulated era. Of course, booking apps pretty much only give you price. They certainly emphasize price. If seat pitch and width were listed along with that price you might seem demand shift. Some. For the unwashed masses, price will always rule.

  3. And Ryanair wanted pay toilets!

    Having been on the 380 a couple of times; I avoid it; why?
    Too long to board, too long to debark, way too long to wait for bags.
    More than an hour to load, forever to offload, another hour plus to wait for bags; too many for one carousel at any airport, so one has to watch two carousels; frustrating experience all around.
    The 380 is a perfect example of the law of “Diminishing Returns”; as the aircraft got bigger, the cost per seat mile actually went up.
    The 777X and A350 both beat it on every cost parameter.

  4. It’ll be interesting to see if some sort of large blended wing concept might eventually come to be. As others have mentioned though, work needs to be done regarding boarding / evacuation times and the baggage carousel experience.